How to detach and let go with love
Although it is painful to see our loved ones be self-destructive, detachment allows us to enjoy our lives despite the problems and behavior of another person. Attachment and care are normal. It’s healthy to become attached to people we love and care about, but codependent attachment causes us pain and relationship problems. We get too attached, not because we love so much but because we need so much.
We need someone to be and act a certain way so that you can feel good. Managing and controlling, reacting and worrying and obsessing are self-defeating codependent patterns. We can get too involved. The antidote is to separate and let go.
What is Separate?
Detachment implies neutrality. Letting go is a way of separating the unhealthy emotional glue that keeps us fused together in a codependent relationship.
What is not to separate
It does not mean physical withdrawal. Separation is also not emotional withdrawal, as is being distant, disinterested, emotionally closed off, or ignoring someone.
Breaking up does not mean neglecting family responsibilities or leaving someone. Although physical space or separation can be helpful as a means of establishing boundaries and centering ourselves, this is not what it means to separate. For example, some people decide not to have contact with someone, because the relationship is too painful.
Physical proximity is irrelevant. In fact, some divorced couples are more emotionally attached and reactive to each other than most married couples. Someone who lives far away can push our buttons on a phone call to make us linger on the conversation for days, or even if there wasn’t one! Letting go is about refocusing and taking charge of ourselves.
Key Separation Ingredients
It’s about letting go of our expectations and entanglements with other people’s problems and issues. We stop reacting to things they say and do and obsess and worry about things. We take control of our feelings and thoughts and mind our own business. It does not take away our feelings and worries, but instead channels them in a healthy way. In practice, it is more compassionate and loving than codependent attachment.
Separating involves four key concepts:
- have appropriate boundaries
- accepting reality
- Being in the present, not in the past or in the future
- Take responsibility for our feelings and needs.
Letting go is letting go with love
When first learning to detach, people often shut down their feelings or use walls of silence to refrain from codependent behavior, but with persistence, understanding, and compassion, they can lovingly let go. Gradually, instead of dedicating ourselves to changing or controlling others, we can be compassionate and encourage them. We have no need to argue or persuade others, but instead are curious about different points of view. This shows respect and honors boundaries and separation. Instead of manipulating people to be like us, we take the risk of being authentic, for example, we can say: “I feel sad when I see you depressed.” Instead of trying to change someone’s need for space or silence, we enjoy our time alone or with another person. This may seem impossible, but the payoff is gratifying.
Are you too involved?
When we worry, it is a sign that we are attached to a certain result. When we are frustrated with someone, it is because we are attached to them being different than they are and accepting their flaws. When we give unsolicited advice, we are crossing a line and assuming a superior position. We all do this from time to time, but codependents do it to excess. Instead of two people with separate minds and independent feelings, the boundaries are blurred. Does this apply to you?
- Do your moods and happiness depend on another person?
- Do you have strong emotional reactions to someone’s opinions, thoughts, feelings, and judgments?
- Do you spend time worrying and thinking about someone else’s problems?
- Do you analyze someone’s motives or feelings?
- Do you think about what another person is doing, not doing, thinking or feeling?
- Do you neglect your career, hobbies, activities, or friends because of a relationship?
- Do you drop out of other activities if someone else doesn’t join you or disapproves?
- Do you please someone because you are afraid of rejection?
- Do you get anxious doing things alone?
When we are too involved, we are myopic. Others become extensions of us. We try to control their opinions, feelings, and actions to get what we need and feel good. We try to manage them to avoid witnessing their suffering. We try to impress and please them. We try to persuade them to agree with us or do what we want. So we react with hurt or anger when they don’t want to. If you relate, learn why separation is helpful.
Benefits of separating
Letting go reaps profound benefits for us, not only in the relationship, but in personal growth, inner peace, and all areas of our lives.
- we learn to love
- We gain peace, freedom and power.
- We make time for ourselves
- We become more resistant to loss
- We learn independence and self-responsibility.
- We encourage that in other
We are responsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions and the consequences of those actions. Other people are responsible for theirs. Cheering someone up from time to time or giving them more attention is not codependent. One benefit of a good marriage is that spouses nurture each other when one is in trouble, but it’s supportive, not codependent nurturing, and it’s reciprocal.
On the contrary, when we constantly try to change the mood of others or solve their problems, we are becoming their caretakers based on the mistaken belief that we can control what causes them pain. We are assuming responsibilities that are theirs, not ours. Sometimes codependent couples unconsciously agree that one partner has an obligation to make the other happy. That is an impossible task and leads to mutual unhappiness, anger and resentment. The cheerleader is always failing and frustrated, and the receiver feels shame and resentment. Whatever we try will not be quite correct or sufficient.
how to separate
Detachment begins with understanding, but it takes time for the heart to truly accept that we are ultimately powerless over others and that our efforts to change someone are futile and possibly harmful to ourselves, the other person, and the relationship. . Follow these steps to practice detachment:
- Ask yourself if you are in reality or in denial.
- Consider whether your expectations of the other person are reasonable.
- Honestly examine your motives. Are they selfish?
- Practice allowing and accepting reality in all aspects of your life.
- Allow your feelings.
- Practice meditation to become less attached and reactive.
- Practice compassion for the other person.
- Be authentic. Make “I” statements about your genuine feelings instead of offering advice.
- Attend Al-Anon or CoDA meetings.
If you answered “yes” to several of the questions above, consider learning more about separating and getting support. Breaking up can be very difficult to do on your own.
©Darlene Lancer 2020